AIDWA expresses its strong protest over the promulgation of the Triple Talaq ordinance by the Central Government on September 19th 2018. The ordinance is an attempt to undermine the democratic process since many organizations, including AIDWA , had demanded that the Muslim women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017, pending in the Rajya Sabha, should be referred to a Select Committee for further discussion and debate before being brought in as a law.
Instead, the currently passed Ordinance has completely ignored the objections from many quarters to the criminalization of a civil offence. It has prescribed a punishment of upto three years imprisonment for pronouncement of triple talaq and made the crime cognizable and non-bailable. While the Ordinance prescribes that only a wife can file the complaint, the law still remains a draconian one. This exposes the communal agenda of the RSS-BJP and its flawed approach to the protection of muslim women’s rights. We would like to point out that currently, along with the pronouncement of triple talaq, if a wife complains of being subjected to mental and/or physical cruelty, she can take recourse to the law and register a case under Section 498A IPC.
Moreover, putting a husband in Jail would affect a wife’s maintenance rights as the husband will stop earning. This and other allied needs like a home and other property rights is what a woman requires the most when she is abandoned. The ordinance also reveals the Government’s limited and patriarchal mindset when it allows a women to approach the magistrate’s court only for a subsistence allowance. Why should the wife and children be only allowed to ask for a subsistence allowance while the law of maintenance for all women and children in the country clearly lays down that women and children should be given maintenance which will allow them to live in the same lifestyle that they were living in the marital home or ‘ shared household.’
It is a matter of concern that without any demonstrable urgency or expediency (as mandated under Article 123 of the Constitution), a controversial Ordinance has been issued by the Union Government at this juncture. This is particularly objectionable since Triple Talaq is no longer a valid form of divorce as per the judgement of the Supreme Court in Shayara Bano’s case. Thus, the pronouncement of triple talaq after the judgment is void and has no effect on the marital status of the parties in the eyes of the law.
AIDWA therefore demands the immediate repeal of the ordinance. Instead, the Bill pending in Parliament should be referred to a Select Committee for discussion, before being passed, so that true justice can be meted out to the affected women.
Malini Bhattacharya Adv Kirti Singh Mariam Dhawale
President AIDWA Legal Advisor General Secretary